Monday, July 27, 2015

The Tween is Back

We got our kid back (from the beach) on Saturday. We dropped our dogs off for boarding and then hit the road Saturday morning.  The airport is about two hours from our house and her flight was due at 11:55 a.m.. My geeky husband found out that there was a comic book convention at a hotel right near the airport and wanted to stop there before the flight was scheduled to arrive. He generally attends these events without me but in this case he really had no choice. We arrived at the hotel at about 10:20 a.m., 20 minutes after the shindig had started. There were a bunch of cars in the lot already. "Your people are already here!" I told him. I think he was actually perturbed that we weren't there right at 10:00.

I had promised that I would sit in the lobby and read a book on my Kindle. However, I could not resist taking a peek in the room where the convention was being held. It wasn't a big ballroom or anything - just a conference room. There were about 20 tables with long white comic boxes on top (the same kind of boxes that are stacked in my basement). People were rapidly flipping through the comics. I noticed that the geeks all had different tracking systems. My husband uses a spreadsheet and prints a hard copy periodically. Others had similar documents with them. Some used their phones for tracking.

Here's what I know about comics:
  • They are boring. (Sorry, that was just an editorial comment).
  • When storing a comic, you are supposed to put it in a baggie and put a thin piece of cardboard in there, too. One refers to a comic in this state as being "bagged and boarded."
  • They are rated on a quality scale: Mint, Near Mint, and so forth. 
  • There are way too many of them in my home.
My husband actually reads all of the comics he buys. Not long ago, he had a stack of bagged and boarded comics sitting on the dining room table. I sat down at the table, in my usual spot, to eat my lunch. The comics were on the placemat at the chair next to mine. I could tell that he was getting nervous about the comics being so close to my food (even though they were fully protected). He walked over and move the pile over a few inches. While he was still standing there, I took the one off the top, licked it, and put it back on the pile. "CLAUDIA!"  He was seriously mad.

Anyway, back to the comic convention . . . I took a photo and then went out to the lobby as instructed.  There was a lady sitting there, reading a book. I sat down to read, too. She laughed so I looked over at her. "I just couldn't take any more comics," she said.

I nodded, thinking, "Oh, she's in the same boat I am."

But then she said this: "Normally I dress up for these but I wasn't sure what to wear to this one."

What. The. Fuck. She told me two things in that one sentence:
  1. She's one of them.
  2. She has so many costumes that she wasn't sure which one would work best for this particular convention. 
I smiled and went back to reading my book. A few minutes later, I checked my daughter's flight and saw that it was scheduled to land a few minutes early. As much as I hated to pull my husband away from his tribe, I walked back into the comic room and told him that I thought we should think about heading out. He informed me that he would get some sort of deal if he got 50 comics, so he just needed a few more. I walked aback to the lobby to kill some more time.

When we got in the car, he tried to tell me how much money he had saved, how much some of these comics would have cost if he had paid the price listed on the cover. Blah blah blah. It's kind of like me saying I got a pair of shoes on sale at Kohl's and that I managed to use Kohl's cash and a coupon. Sure, I saved money, but I did actually spend some. It's not like Kohl's paid me to show up and take a pair of their shoes.

We got to the airport in time. I obtained a gate pass so that I could meet our daughter's flight. I made P sit with my purse so that I didn't have to worry about getting a bottle of hand lotion through security. I did kind of laugh to myself when I was "chosen" for the full-body scan.  As I stood in the machine with my arms in the air (like I just don't care), I thought to myself, "Joke's on you, people! I'm not flying anywhere!"  I then sat at the terminal and waited for the flight. After it finally landed, it seemed like an eternity passed while I watched the airport people connect the jetway to the plane. Finally, a flight attendant brought my kid through the door.

"Hey, baby!" I yelled and then squeezed the bejeebers out of my kid, who looked even more tan than I remembered. We then hurried back to the main part of the terminal so that she could be reunited with her dad.

After that, we grabbed some lunch at Qdoba and then drove to Six Flags, where we planned to spend the rest of the day. It was hot and we had to park in Nairobi, but we were determined to have some family fun. And it was a fun day! The lines were long but it was a Saturday so we expected that. We rode several roller coasters and a couple of water rides. The kid insisted on buying a cape. My grandmother had given her $20 so she had some cash to spend.

Speaking of money . . . needless to say, everything is very expensive at an amusement park. When we stopped for dinner at a Johnny Rockets, the prices really came as no surprise. The kid asked for a vanilla milkshake. We had just been reunited with her so I think she felt like she could take advantage of us - at least until we got our parenting legs back under us. I think the milkshake was something like $6.74. That is not an exaggeration. We also noticed that they charged 10% sales tax at the park. Anyway, we got some fries and the milkshake and sat down. Not two seconds later, the kid accidentally smacked the milkshake and it fell over. Her dad was not too happy, and chided her to be more careful. Our daughter scowled and exclaimed (very dramatically), "I'M BACK FOR ONE DAY AND THIS IS HOW YOU TREAT ME?!"

She's back alright.

On Saturday evening, we stayed at a hotel because we didn't want to drive all the way back home. We knew we would be tired. I got a room on Priceline and guess which one it was?  The very same one where we had the pre-Disney head lice situation. That Qdoba where we had lunch? It was in that parking lot that we combed out the lice, three years before. It was just surreal. We could still remember which parking space we had used. Great, now I'm itching again.

Now that we're back home, I've begun the process of reprogramming the kid. She hasn't heard the word "no" a whole lot while hanging out with her grandparents. In fact, last night she actually thought I'd let her eat sour cream and onion Pringles for dinner. Good try, kid. Good try.





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